Single and Looking


Awhile ago I was helping a friend who decided to bite the bullet and write a personal ad. She asked me how she should fill out some of the sections; one in particular was “body type.” The options were:

  • Thin
  • Overweight
  • Skinny
  • Average
  • Fit
  • Athletic
  • Jacked
  • A Little Extra
  • Curvy
  • Full-Figured

Some of those seemed redundant to me, but whatever. Now for this particular friend, she was conflicted on whether to use “curvy,” “average” or “athletic.” I told her to pick athletic. I felt like that was a good representation of her body type. Sure she has some womanly curves but she’s also very athletic and strong.

The whole process sent me down memory lane. I remembered when I filled out a personal ad on Match and OkCupid way back when. I did it several times in my life. The first time was when I was obese. I know that I had picked something a long the lines of “overweight” or “curvy.” It was a time in my life when I was still lying to myself about just how big I had gotten.

The second time in my life was after I lost about 60 pounds. For a year I had been focused on my weight loss goal and had lost enough weight to start feeling more confident in myself. I decided I was almost ready to be open to a relationship and decided to test the waters out with a new profile.

60 pounds

By this time, I was perplexed. And much more aware of my body, body type and I was being more honest with myself. I still “had a few pounds to lose” and selected something along those lines. There was no shame in that, though, because I felt really proud of myself for losing 60 pounds! I got a lot of responses, a lot more than ever thought I would. I was still talking down to myself, telling myself I was fat and had a long way to go. Getting responses that were positive was a nice feeling! I started to wonder:Β maybe people DON’T care about weight as much as I thought they did!

The whole process was uncomfortable: selling yourself to a stranger in hopes that they notice you and are interested. What I decided was that people were interested because my attitude had changed. I was no longer the victim, the “woe is me” person who felt uncomfortable in her own skin. The big attitude change made such a difference it was astounding!


A little while later, I updated my profile once I was close to goal weight. I hadn’t met Michael yet. I selected “athletic.”Β Being able to label myself as “athletic” was a very cool moment for me. I felt accomplished and proud of the weight I had lost so far.

If you missed the series, check out the posts from the Body Love Week here for some positive body image inspiration:

Structure, Perfectionism, and Authentic Living

I Want My Daughters to Be Proud of Their Mom

Identity Crisis

Learning to Love Myself

In the end, my friend met a great guy and the whole question of body type turned out to be irrelevant! And I met a great guy, too, and my body type was irrelevant as well. πŸ™‚

QUESTION: Have you had experiences like this with online dating ads?


16 Responses

  1. Last summer, I decided to sign up for an online dating site during on of the “free communication” weekends just to “see” what is was like. After all, the ads say “it’s OK to look”. I had the same exact dilemma when I got to the body type question. I remembered the line from “Must Love Dogs” when John Cusack’s character said “athletic means flat chested”…so that option was immediately eliminated. Then I googled “curvy”. The results ranged anywhere from full figured to hour glass shaped, so I picked this one. I only filled in minimal information and didn’t add a picture, but I got some crazy messages asking just how “curvy” I was and requests to post a picture to prove it. I’m not a big fan of online dating, so this freaked me out, and I deleted the account. I talked to a friend who is a big supporter of online dating about my experience and she was mostly shocked I had so many responses without posting a picture. When I told her about the body type question, she looked at me and said “curvy athletic”. Well, that’s not a selection and I was even more confused. Then it got me thinking, is it better to undersell and over-deliver, or is it almost the complete opposite in dating? Maybe someday I’ll try it again.

  2. I haven’t tried online dating, but I’m a little ambivalent about the question of what body type you have being included in a dating profile. I understand that you need to be attracted to someone for a relationship to work, but the question seems weird to me. I don’t think it’s fair to write someone off just because they don’t have the body type you’d generally go for. Anyway, I am glad that you were able to find your confidence and find a great guy. πŸ™‚
    Beth @ Running with the Sunrise recently posted..Valentine’s Presents

    1. Unfortunately that’s how it is. Whether it’s online dating or real life dating, we’re going to be judged on our appearance–at least at first. It’s the nature of the beast.

  3. I have an online dating profile, but I am afraid to check the messages. I feel so unhappy about how I look at the moment (despite working out/mindful eating) that I am not sure I’d be confident in trying to meet someone. That being said, I know I *should* because I’ve been single for nearly a decade now, and I’m not getting any younger!
    Cindy recently posted..On my nightstand

  4. Well, this touched a nerve! I’ve been single most of my adult life. I have done some online dating, and probably go out with a new person once or twice a year. I mostly resist it because I hate the process so much – crafting my persona, looking at profiles, sending and answering messages, meeting strangers, awkward small talk – I almost always think I’d rather be single forever than go through that process.

    The truth is I would LOVE to be with someone, but I (apparently unrealistically) wish I could just meet that person in real life. I’ve been entirely unsuccessful in changing my attitude about online dating, and yeah, a good bit of it has to do with comfort with my body/fitness. I probably look about like what you look like in that middle picture, and objectively I know I deserve love and attraction etc but it’s hard not to think I’m not good enough, while not doing a lot to change it! Being human can be very annoying πŸ™‚

    1. I agree. I hate the whole thing! When I was trying the online dating thing, I felt embarrassed and I resisted it as well. I wanted to meet someone in person, just around and naturally. Online felt so forced. But the reality is, we’re in a technology world now and I think more people meet online than we know. I have several friends who have met their spouses online. I think the taboo nature of it is finally disappearing.

  5. Before I met my husband, I posted an ad and met a couple of guys. It seemed odd having to ‘sell yourself’ in a few words…but know what? If I was single again, I’d do it all over again. It’s HARD to meet people in “real life”.
    Oh, and Lisa, sorry I didn’t reply to your comment on my site yesterday. The crackers you were wondering about are “Crunchmaster Multi seed rice” crackers. They’re everywhere here in Vancouver…not sure if they’re available in your neck of the woods. Here is the site with the info.

    Have a great day.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..No click?? Just flash? No focus?

    1. It’s very uncomfortable “Selling” yourself! I’m currently struggling with re-writing my resume. It’s so awkward trying to make yourself sound fantastic on paper!

      Thanks for getting back to me on the crackers. I’ll look for them!

  6. Trying to account for the wide range of body types in just a few select categories on a dating website seems like an exercise in humility.

    Actually, so does trying to “sell” your worthiness and sex appeal.

    For those who have gone that route and, especially, if you’ve experienced success, I give you props. You are far braver than I could ever be.

    Trevor recently posted..Are You Really the Man You Should Be?

  7. I joined an online dating service after losing a bunch of weight. My willingness to join after losing weight had very little to do with me new and improved appearance. It had more to do with the fact that I figured that if I could do something as big as losing a lot of weight, I could do anything, including online dating. I felt so much more confident and happy within myself and I truly believe that is what was attractive about me. A few people I corresponded with still thought I was too large to be attractive, but the truly wonderful men didn’t seem to be too bothered.

    Incidentally, I met the most wonderful of all the men out there through online dating and we have been married almost three years now. He loves me no matter the number on the scale and goes swimming with me every morning to encourage me.

    If you are still looking, don’t give up. The perfect person for you will definitely be worth the wait.

    1. ” It had more to do with the fact that I figured that if I could do something as big as losing a lot of weight, I could do anything, including online dating” <--- I love that! That's exactly how I would describe my experience. I finally felt confident in myself and it showed. I'm glad you found a great guy who is supportive. It's so cool he swims with you. πŸ™‚

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